For children aged 0-6years of age and/or in Special Educational Needs and Disability settings

Film funded by London Borough of Barking and Dagenham and The Broadway Theatre. 

"Quite literally growing their brains!”

Following a significant research and development period in 2016, our exciting AWARD-WINNING family dance programme proved that creative dance can help to reduce social isolation amongst children aged 0-5 years and their parents and carers and contribute to building physical and social confidence in children to get them ready for their first years at primary school. You can see our reports below. 


Since becoming winners of the Essex Prize Challenge in April 2017 where our early year's programme was initially developed, The Dance Network Association has been funded by London Borough of Barking and Dagenham and to deliver ‘Active Families’, a dance participation project aimed at a wide range of children with their adults in local children's centres in the Borough. 


"Creative dance has the ability to bring people together to feel emotionally, physically and mentally connected.  In engaging with dance, participants’ confidence in moving and interacting can grow, one’s sense of connectedness may feel more rooted and so overall health and well-being can flourish too". 

The school's programme Active Start began in 2017 as a commission with the same artist who delivered on our the families programme: Louise Klarnett. Louise created an 8-week EYFS dance curriculum programme which was delivered by her directly to 3 schools per term (9 schools a year) who would then be left with the beautiful resource toolkit which offers all 8 classes and details for teachers to continue dancing in the early years. 

Over the past 3 years, Louise worked closely with the DNA as a mentor to train and develop artists to continue to deliver the 'Active Start' programme in Barking and Dagenham. Since COVID begun DNA have had to change the way this programme can be delivered to schools and from October 2020 onwards we have made the programme available digitally.


So we can now offer a full collection of the 8 classes which you can pop on and play to your students, OR we can deliver virtually via Zoom or 'in person' at your schools. If you do choose 'in person' option you will also have access to the 8 videoed classes along with a PDF resource pack of the toolkit to future proof the delivery of creative dance in your school! 

Programme details: 

  • The programme will be led by a qualified dance 'Active Start' dance teacher specialising in early years and will be aimed at children in reception, year 1 and SEND settings. You can also involve parent and carers to join you to dance with their little ones. 

  • Classes each week are 1 x 45 mins practical movement session over 8 weeks (the class teacher and we advise an additional support assistant is present at each session). The programme will run for 8 weeks. Or you will have access to 8 digital online tutorials to be played directly to your class, but teachers will need to support and guide the children.

  • An additional 30 minutes is required for a pre-meet and debrief with the class teacher as to delivering class and also to debrief and pull together a development plan so teachers feel confident to deliver the programme after we have finished the 8-week programme. This will still happen if over Zoom if you're having the tutorial only option then there are an additional 8 commentary videos to view one for each class. 

  • Sessions open for parents/carers to participate alongside their child each session; however, there is no requirement for them to attend every session as this would be unrealistic, obviously if you are taking part in the programme during COVID following school COVID guidelines.

Aims and Objectives:


  • To introduce dance and movement skills

  • To develop self-esteem and confidence in the child (extending to parents/carers when present)

  • To explore teamwork and co-operation

  • To support healthy living through dance

  • To increase knowledge, skills and independence

  • To have fun!

  • Offer a dance curriculum in schools for EYFS, Year 1 and SEND settings 


  • To use a variety of rhymes, props and language to enable children (and parents/carers) to interact with one another and the rest of the group through music and movement

  • To become playfully involved and engaged in regular classes

  • To engage socially and enjoy relating to each other, other adults (where present) and other children

  • To begin to communicate and express their own needs and ideas either verbally or physically

  • To enjoy rhymes, moving to music, making sounds/music, games, story-making by responding visibly

  • To listen/pay attention and respond to instructions

  • To gain confidence in their physical abilities and have fun trying new skills

  • To respond imaginatively by imitating, pretending and exploring new materials

  • Teachers to feel confident in delivering creative dance classes 'Active Start' programme

If you are interested in working with us to deliver creative dance in your school please contact us or call 07490 37 47 17